Types of Bicycle Trainers
When it comes to choosing the best bicycle trainer for your needs, the first thing you need to do is have a thorough understanding of the different types of trainers that are available. There are five main types of bicycle trainers, which include:
- The wind bicycle trainer
- The magnetic bicycle trainer
- The fluid bicycle trainer
- The roller bicycle trainer
- The indoor bike
Each of these five types of bicycle trainers offers different advantages, and some disadvantages, too. Below, you will find a detailed description of each of these five types of bicycle trainers.
The Wind Bicycle Trainer
This is the original bicycle trainer. When you pedal, it powers a fan, which creates wind, and the wind provides resistance. The resistance increases the faster the rear wheel moves. The major benefits of a wind resistance bicycle trainer is that it is one of the least expensive types of trainers, and it is also one of the easiest, yet most durable types around. On the downside, the wind makes a lot of noise, making this type of bike trainer the loudest option. Also, the resistance level is not adjustable, it doesn’t offer a lot of features, and it doesn’t really stimulate the feel of a real road.
The Magnetic Bicycle Trainer
Unlike the wind bicycle trainer, which uses a fan to create resistance, the magnetic bicycle trainer uses a magnetic flywheel to create the resistance. On the upside, the magnetic bicycle trainer is affordable and the resistance level can easily be adjusted. Additionally, this type of trainer is much quieter than wind trainers. Also, there are new electromagnetic versions on the market, and there are a lot of different options available. On the downside, the resistance range on the magnetic bicycle trainer is limited, and it isn’t as durable as the wind bicycle trainer.
The Fluid Bicycle Trainer
The fluid bicycle trainer is a type of magnetic trainer. It is based on a magnetic flywheel; however, it also has a fluid chamber, which contains viscous fluid, which increases the resistance options. The fluid trainer is the most commonly used bicycle trainer of all. On the upside, this type of bike trainer offers the most authentic feeling of any type of trainer, so you will feel as if you are pedaling on the road. Also, the fluid allows for a wide range of resistance adjustments, it is quite, and there are a large range of features and options available, such as power and connectivity. On the downside, fluid trainers aren’t as durable as other types of trainers; this type of trainer is susceptible to overheating, as it can cook the viscous fluid when the trainer is in action.
The Roller Bicycle Trainer
The roller bicycle trainer is the first type of indoor trainer ever made. A bike sits freely on three precision drums inside a frame, and those precision drums turn as you pedal the bike. The drums can provide resistance – the smaller the diameter of the drums, the more resistance there will be. There are also magnetic, fluid and wind add-on elements that can be used to create resistance. The roller bicycle trainer is most commonly used by professional cyclists, as they are an excellent tool for improving form; however, this type of trainer doesn’t offer a lot in the way of range for resistance, and it does take a bit of practice to get used to using this type of trainer.
The Indoor Bike
The indoor bike is a full featured trainer. It uses fluid to create resistance, or resistance can be magnetically controlled. The major advantage of the indoor bike is that it offers the most stable setup for indoor training. It is also the quietest of all bike trainers, and it reduces the wear and tear on your bike. On the downside, the indoor bike is the most expensive of all types of bike trainers. Also, it tends to be large and heavy, which means that you will likely have to dedicate a space for this trainer. It also requires a second set of pedals, which adds to the cost and the setup.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bicycle Trainer
In order to choose the best bicycle trainer for your specific needs, there are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration. Some of the most important factors to consider include the functionality of the trainer, the noise that it creates and the portability of the device. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to choose the best indoor bicycle trainer for your specific needs. To learn more about these and other factors that we consider very important when choosing a bicycle trainer, please keep on reading.
The Functionality of the Bicycle Trainer
You want your bicycle trainer to be as easy to use as possible. With that said, you want to make sure that it is easy to get on and off of, and you want it to be easy to use. That is not to say that you want it to offer little resistance, unless that is what you are going for. In regard to being easy to use, you want the resistance to be easy to adjust, and you want it to be comfortable, and you want other features that are offered to be easy to use, too.
The Sturdiness of the Trainer
You want your bicycle trainer to be as sturdy as possible. A trainer that isn’t sturdy can make you feel like you are going to lose your grip – or actually make you lose your grip – which can seriously impact your training, and can also be dangerous. The best bicycle trainers are built to be sturdy.
The Noise the Bicycle Trainer Makes
All bicycle trainers make some degree of noise; however, some are noisier than others. Generally speaking, wind bicycle trainers are the loudest, as the wind they create can make a lot of noise. If you are looking for a quiet option, the fluid resistance bicycle trainer is your best bet, as it creates virtually no noise.
The Portability of the Bicycle Trainer
How portable do you want the trainer to be? Do you plan on using it in different areas and moving it around, or will you be using it in the same dedicated space? The heavier the machine, the less portable it will be. Indoor bikes are the least portable of all types of bicycle trainers, as they are the heaviest, so if portability is important to you, this isn’t the best option.
Storage of the Bicycle Trainer
If you are short on space, or don’t want to keep your trainer out all of the time, you are going to want to shop for a bicycle trainer that can easily be stored. Look for one that offers folding legs, as this will allow you to easily fold the machine down so that you can easily tuck it away when it isn’t in use.
The Adjustability of the Bicycle Trainer
Do you want to vary your workouts? If so, you are going to want to look for a bicycle trainer that can be easily adjusted. If you are just planning on hopping on your trainer and spinning, than adjustability isn’t an important factor for you.
The Ride Performance
Another important factors that you are going to want to take into consideration is the ride performance the bicycle trainer offers. Some trainers offer smoother rides, and some offer a ride that closely mimics the feel of riding on the road. Make sure you consider the feel you are going for when choosing your trainer so that you can choose one that offers you the best ride performance to suit your needs.
The Price of the Bicycle Trainer
Of course, another important factor that you are going to want to take into consideration is the price of the bicycle trainer. These devices vary widely in price; generally, the wind bicycle trainer is the least expensive option and the indoor bike is the most expensive. The more features that the bicycle trainer offers, the more expensive it will be. Make sure you consider how much you are willing to invest before you start shopping so you don’t spend more than you are comfortable with.
The Features Bicycle Trainers Can Offer
There are a number of features that bicycle trainers can offer. These features are intended to improve the function and the ease of use of the trainer. However, as mentioned above, the more features the bicycle trainer offers, the more expensive it will be. It is important to understand the different features that are offered so that you can determine whether you want or need them, and if the added cost will be worth your while.
Here is a look at some of the top features that bicycle trainers can offer.
Axle Attachment Inserts
Some bicycle trainers that attach via the rear wheel of the bike offer different axle standards and inserts. If this is a feature that you are interested in, you should make sure that the trainer you purchase offers options that are compatible for the bike you plan on using.
Front Wheel Block
A dedicated leveling block will allow you to level the bike with greater ease, and make it much more stable.
Some bicycle trainers features sensors, which allow you to keep track of the power of the bike, the cadence, and even the speed that you are going.
The Best Bicycle Trainer Brands
There are several companies that manufacture bicycle trainers, which can make it difficult to determine which brand to choose. Because you want to pick the best bicycle trainer possible, we have gone through the different brands, tested them out, and read through the user reviews. Our assessment has lead us to determine that the following brands of bicycle trainers are the best of the best and will offer you the ultimate experience in your training endeavors.
This company produces a wide variety of bicycle trainers. They are durable, easy to use and offer an array of features. Cycle Ops trainers are also some of the most stable trainers on the market.
Another highly regarded producer of bicycle trainers is Kinetic. This company uses high quality materials and durable construction to offer you bicycle trainers that are stable, easy to use and offer an exceptional experience.
We also really like the bicycle trainers that are produced by Tacx. This company produces a variety of trainers that offer a wide range of features. Their trainers are durable, portable, stable and very easy to use. They also provide a very smooth ride.
Another top bicycle trainer brand is Conquer. Their trainers are portable, offer a range of features, are extremely functional, and will provide you with a smooth ride.